Secretaries’ panel to look into demands of people of Kargil

Shutdown observed for the fourth consecutive day over demand for rotational offices

The Jammu and Kashmir administrationon Tuesday constituted a committee of secretaries to look into the demands of the people of Kargil, where a shutdown was observed for the fourth consecutive day on Tuesday over the demand for rotational offices.

“The Governor [Satya Pal Malik] and the government have taken note of the sentiments of the people of Kargil. The government is equally sensitive to the needs and aspirations of both districts,” a government spokesperson said.

The spokesman said the government has formed a committee of senior officers "to determine the location and scope and size of division level offices, their staffing, size and most importantly, their location in the division."

Meanwhile, a Kargil-based civil society group, Joint Resistance Movement, has decided to continue with its protest shutdown against the administration’s decision to set up divisional commissioner’s office at Leh after Ladakh was declared a separate division recently and was split from Kashmir division.

Work in offices and court was suspended for the day. Hundreds of people marched on the streets to press for their demand to have “rotational headquarters at both Kargil and Leh”.

Rejecting the constitution of a committee, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Naeem Akhtar said: “The measure is a mere delaying tactic. The Governor’s administration didn’t feel the need to consult anybody in granting divisional status and why a committee now?”

He alleged that the Governor’s move was “thoughtless with grave consequences and at the behest of the BJP”. “It has a potential to flare-up. The Governor must immediately rescind the order and set up six monthly full rotational of all offices,” Mr. Akhtar said.

Former Chief Minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah also backed the demand of the people of Kargil. “It seems the decision was taken in a haste and is contrived to pitch one community against the other. Had the idea behind this act been to empower the people of Ladakh, then the governor would have held deliberations,” said Mr. Abdullah.

He said divisional headquarters at Leh only will serve no good.

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